How to Attract your Desires
Magical operations are the exercise of a natural power, but superior to the ordinary forces of nature. They are the result of a science and a habit that raise the human will above its habitual limits. The supernatural is only the extraordinary natural or the exalted natural: a miracle is a phenomenon which shocks the crowd because it is unexpected; the marvelous is that which marvels, it is made up of effects that surprise those who are ignorant of the causes or who assign them causes that are not proportional to the results. Miracles are only for the ignorant; but, as an absolute science barely exists among men, the miracle can still exist, and it exists for the whole world. Let us start by saying that we believe in all miracles, because we are convinced and certain, even from our own experience, of their entire possibility. There are some that we do not explain, but that we do not regard as less explicable. From the greater to the lesser and from the lesser to the greater the consequences are identically relative and the proportions progressively rigorous. But, in order to perform miracles, it is necessary to be outside the common conditions of humanity; it is necessary to be either extracted by wisdom, or exalted by madness, above all passions or outside them through ecstasy or frenzy. That is the first and most indispensable of the operator’s preparations. So, by a divine or fatal law, the magician can only exercise omnipotence in inverse proportion to his material interest; the alchemist makes even more gold the more he resigns himself to deprivations and the more he values poverty, the protector of the super-work’s secrets. The adept whose heart is without passion will dispose of the love and the hatred of those who he will want to make instruments of his science: the myth of Genesis is eternally true, and God only lets the tree of science be approached by the men who are sufficiently abstinent and strong not to desire its fruits. You therefore who seek in magic a way to satisfy your passions, stop yourselves on this fatal path: you would only find madness or death. It was expressed in the past by a vulgar tradition in which the devil would sooner or later end up strangling the sorcerers. The magician must therefore be detached, sober and chaste, disinterested, impenetrable and inaccessible to every type of prejudice or terror. He must be without bodily defects and immune from all contradictions and all difficulties. The first and most important of magical works is to arrive at this rare superiority. We have said that passionate ecstasy can produce the same results as absolute superiority, and this is true as to the success, but not as to the direction of magical operations. Passion strongly projects vital light and prints unforeseen movements on the universal agent; but it cannot retain as easy as it throws, and so its destiny resembles Hippolytus dragged by his own horses, or Phalaris suffering from the instrument of torture he had invented for others. The human will fulfilled by action is like a cannonball that never recoils before an obstacle. When launched violently, it goes through it, or it enters it and loses itself within it; however, if it goes on with patience and perseverance, it is never lost, it is like the wave that always returns and ends up wearing away the iron. Man can be modified by habit, which becomes, according to the proverb, a second nature in him. Through persevering and graduated gymnastics, the strengths and the agility of the body develop or create themselves in astonishing proportion. It is the same with the powers of the soul. Do you want to reign over yourselves and others? Learn how to will. How can one learn to will? Here is the first secret of magical initiation, and the former depositaries of sacerdotal art surrounded the entrance of the sanctuary with so much terror and prestige in order to make the very essence of this secret understood. They only believed in a will when it had proven itself, and they were right. Power can only assert itself through victories. Laziness and forgetfulness are the enemies of the will, and it is for this reason that all religions have multiplied their practices and made their teaching meticulous and difficult. The more one is annoyed by an idea, the more strength one gains in the sense of this idea. Don’t mothers prefer those of their children who caused them the most pain and cost them the greatest care? Therefore the strength of religions exists entirely in the inflexible will of those who practice. As long as there is a worshipper believing in the holy sacrifice of the mass, there will be a priest to recite it to him; and as long as there is a priest reciting his breviary everyday, there will be a pope in the world. The most outwardly insignificant practices, outwardly foreign in themselves to the intended goal, lead nevertheless to this goal by educating and exercising the will. If a peasant woke up every morning at two or three o’clock and traveled very far from home everyday to pick a sprig of the same herb before sunrise he would be able to, while carrying this herb on him, perform a large number of prodigies. This herb would be a sign of his will and would become through this very will everything that he would want it to become in the interest of his desires. To be able it is necessary to believe that one can, and this faith must be immediately translated into actions. When a child says, ‘I can’t,’ his mother replies, ‘Try.’ Faith does not even try; it begins with the certainty of finishing, and it works calmly as if it had omnipotence at its command and eternity before it. You therefore who present yourselves before the science of the magicians, what do you want from it? Dare to formulate your desire, whatever it is, then get to work immediately, and do not stop acting in the same sense and to the same end: what you want will be done, and it has already begun for you and by you. Sixtus V, while watching his cattle, had said: I want to be pope. You are a beggar and you want to make gold: get to work and do not stop. I promise you in the name of science all the treasures of Flamel and Raymund Lully. “What needs to be done first?” You need to believe that you can, then act. “Act how?” Wake up everyday at the same time and early; wash yourself at a spring in all seasons before daylight; never wear dirty clothes, and for this clean them yourself if necessary; exercise voluntary deprivations, in order to better endure the involuntary ones; then silence every desire that does not belong to the accomplishment of the super-work. “What! By washing myself everyday at a spring I will make gold?” You will work in order to make it. “It is a mockery.” No, it is a secret. “How can I use a secret that I don’t understand?” Believe and do; you will understand later.The rest of this excerpt can be found in
The 22 Laws of Inner Peace
, written by Eliphas Levi in 1862. Available online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. For more info, visit page 2.
Eliphas Levi 1810-1875